In a journey expected to take some 50 days, Huw Kingston, 59, is skiing and walking the 700km length of the Australian Alps this winter and, along the way, skiing at each of the 12 snow resorts. His Alpine Odyssey aims to raise $50,000 for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project.
Huw hopes to take the final steps of Alpine Odyssey to finish at the Namadgi NP Visitor Centre in Tharwa, ACT on the afternoon of Sunday 18 September.
In the first days of Spring, Huw sprung across the metre wide Murray River and thus crossed from Victoria to NSW, a day later arriving at Thredbo, his first NSW snow resort and 9th in total. The previous week had seen him ski across the Bogong High Plains from Falls Creek, before climbing onto and traversing Mt Bogong.
‘After the weather gods gave me an absolute thrashing on the day I left Falls Creek, they relented to offer up a sublime day for Mt Bogong. With a cloud sea beneath my skis and an ethereal light, there could not have been a better day to stand atop Victoria’s highest mountain as the sun went down’ said Huw. ‘Keen to stay close to schedule, the following day was my longest of the journey, some 13 hours on the go to reach the Omeo Highway.’
With the Alpine country dropping fairly low in the border region, Huw then climbed aboard his mountain bike for a 3 day ride across to Thredbo ‘It was snowless all the way except for the last kilometres over Bobs Ridge to Dead Horse Gap above Thredbo.’ Huw continued. ‘Pushing and pulling the bike with legs sinking knee and sometimes thigh deep in the soft, spring snow, it took hours to cover a relatively short distance and it was well after dark when I arrived at Thredbo.’
Having explored the NSW Snowy Mountains for some 35 years, it felt good to be on home territory. After enjoying the delights of Thredbo and putting in some turns on its slopes, it was off to ski up Mt Kosciuszko and traverse the Main Range to little Charlotte Pass Resort.
‘Whilst I find Kosi to be one of the less interesting peaks in the Snowies, as Australia’s highest I had to take it in. All the more so as a thank you to the generous donor who ‘bought’ it for my Our Yarning fundraising, paying a record $5000 for the highest real estate in the land!’
Having first learned to ski when working there in 1986, it was special to arrive to ski and stay at Resort No 10, Charlotte Pass, and to push on the following day, 8th September, to Resort No 11, Perisher.
Huw is now skiing north through Kosciuszko NP to Selwyn Snow Resort, the last of his Skier’s Dozen of Australia’s mainland skis areas. Selwyn, rebuilding after being destroyed in the Black Summer bushfires in January 2020, is still very much on Huw’s radar to visit, despite being unable to open for the 2022 season. ‘When I was planning my Alpine Odyssey, everyone was hopeful Selwyn would be open for this winter. Although it didn’t, I will pay my respects to the new construction, perhaps put in a couple of turns if conditions allow, and look forward to the grand reopening in 2023.’
From Selwyn a drop in altitude and Spring snowmelt will see a transition to walking as he heads toward Namadgi NP in the ACT, and Mt Bimberi, the highest peak in the territory. Huw will then be passing through Wongalu and Ngunnawal traditional lands, the last of nine traditional lands his journey will have traversed.
The finish of teh trip coincides with a week of activities being held in Canberra for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project, the beneficiary of Huw’s fundraising. There are workshops for budding indigenous authors, donor meetings and, on the evening of Wednesday 21 September, Huw will be joining Dr Julie Owen, Ngarrendjeri woman and Cultural Lead for the Our Yarning project to give a free public lecture. Their conversation will be moderated by Awakabal man and Our Yarning author Stirling Sharpe.
Supported by The North Face and partnering with many of the resorts he has visited, the success of the Our Yarning fundraising is as important to Huw as the success of his journey. $46,200 of the $50,000 target has been raised to date.
Full details on Alpine Odyssey at www.huwkingston.com/alpine-odyssey with the Fundraising page at https://our-yarning-save-the-children-huw-kingston-fundraiser.raisely.com/